x PREFACE tive and impetuous, like "the bird's song in spring and the cricket's chirp in autumn", as he put it once; or again they may be likened to the "cries of monkeys in the jungle or of the storks in high heaven, unaware of the human listeners below". Always deeply involved in politics, he was always greater than politics. Without guile and without purpose, he went along singing, composing, and criticising, purely to express something he felt in his heart, regardless of what might be the consequences for himself. And so it is that his readers today enjoy his writings as those of a man who kept his mind sharply focused on the progress of events, but who first and last reserved the inalienable right to speak for himself. From his writings shines forth a personality vivid and vigorous, playful or solemn, as the occasion may be, but always genuine, hearty, and true to himself. He wrote for no other reason than that he enjoyed writing, and today we enjoy his writing for no other reason than that he wrote so beautifully, generously, and out of the pristine innocence of his heart. As I try to analyse the reasons why for a thousand years in China each generation has a crop of enthusiastic admirers of this poet, I come to the second reason, which is the same as the first, stated in a different way. Su Tungpo had charm. As with charm in women and beauty and fragrance in flowers, it is easier to feel it than to tell what elements it is composed of. The chief charm of Su Tungpo was that of a brilliant genius who constandy caused worries to his wife or those who loved him best—one does not know whether to admire and love him for his valiant courage, or stop him and protect him from all harm. Apparently there was in him a force of character that could not be stopped by anyone, a force that, started at the moment of his birth, had to run its course until death closed his mouth and stopped his laughing chatter. He wielded his pen almost as if it were a toy. He could be whimsical or dignified, playful or serious, very serious, and from his pen we hear a chord reflecting all the human emotions of joy, delight, disillusionment and resignation. Always he was hearty and enjoyed a party and a good drink. He described himself as impatient in character and said that when there was something he disliked, he had to "spit it out like a fly found in one's food". When he disliked the verse of a certain poet, he characterised it as "the composition of a Shantung school-teacher after sipping bad liquor and eating tainted beef". He made jokes on his friends and his enemies, Once at a great court ceremony, in the presence of all the high officials, he made fun of a certain puritanical neo-Confucianist and stung him with a phrase which made the victim smart, and for which he suffered the con- sequences. Yet what other people could not understand was that he could get angry over things, but never could hate persons. He hated evil, but the evil-doers did not interest him. He merely disliked them.